Dean Smith has been left with a conundrum as Leon Bailey is fighting to be in the Aston Villa squad for tomorrow’s clash with Arsenal, according to Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.
Bailey narrowly missed out on featuring in last weekend’s defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers due to failing to fully recover from injury, but Smith has gone on the record to suggest the winger could return to the fray at the Emirates Stadium.
What’s the latest news involving Bailey?
Bailey has been unavailable for the last three clashes, meaning he was helpless as Villa suffered back-to-back defeats against Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves after overcoming Manchester United.
The 24-year-old was forced onto the sidelines after suffering an injury while scoring his first goal for the club during a 3-0 win over Everton last month.
Villa head coach Smith revealed the thigh strain would keep Bailey out of action until after the international break, which came to an end last week.
Bailey also missed two fixtures in August, meaning he has been restricted to just three appearances for his new employers.
The winger made the move to Villa Park earlier that month after the club opted to spend £25million to seal his arrival from German outfit Bayer Leverkusen.
What has Luke Hatfield said about Bailey?
Hatfield believes Bailey could be the difference if Smith is able to call upon the Jamaica international when Villa look to bounce back from their defeat to Wolves at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow.
The journalist feels Smith is facing a selection headache as he seeks a return to form.
Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “I think, for Dean Smith, it’s a bit of a conundrum and he’ll want to bounce back against Arsenal.
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“The key is just finding some consistency because it’s easier for them to go backwards from a mid-table finish than it is to go forwards.
“They’ve got players coming back in the likes of Leon Bailey, who is obviously a really exciting talent.
“We’ll see what comes for them but they need to find that consistency.”
How could Bailey make the difference at Arsenal?
Bailey has scored 55 goals in 236 senior appearances at club level, meaning he clearly can deliver the goods in the final third of the pitch.
The former Bayer Leverkusen man has shown he can produce the goods on the international stage as well, with him being involved in five goals over the course of 10 outings for Jamaica.
Ex-Villa striker Frank McAvennie has alleged that Smith’s side struggle when Bailey is not on the pitch, underlining his importance.